Setting the Compass – Transits to the Sun

A few days back I started working on a new post for this blog. I homed in on an idea, then started writing. A couple of paragraphs in I felt like I was drifting. What I had thought of as a good idea was just not coming together. I had to ditch and reset. I gave it a rest for a couple of days. Then this morning (July 19, 2022), out of nowhere, this thought popped into my head, of transits to the Sun.

The immediate next vision was that of the Sun as a compass that points in the right direction, which for me right now was to write on this topic! I looked up the transit to my natal Sun, which is at 28 degrees of Sagittarius. The closest transit hit I saw was that of Mercury making an exact inconjunct aspect yesterday (July 18, 2022) from 28 degrees of Cancer.

The inconjunct, also known as the quincunx, is a 150 degree aspect. Astrologers do not use it anywhere near as much as they do the Ptolemaic aspects, because it doesn’t have quite the same dramatic pop. It is an aspect of adjustment, which is exactly what I had to make to find direction for my post. The direction (Sun) here was about communication an idea (Mercury) that I had to adjust over a few tries, synchronizing perfectly by the transiting Mercury inconjunct my natal Sun.

Transits to Natal Sun

This post is about transits to your natal Sun. The natal Sun is the compass of the horoscope. It points you in a direction that you are urged to take in order to feel authentic. I say urge because the direction is a choice. The compass might point one way, but you might choose to go in a different direction that is less authentic but one you think meets the current moment in your life.

The slower the transiting planet in its orbit around the Sun, the greater its long-term impact. Which means in terms of doubling down on or changing the life direction, the planets Jupiter through Pluto are much more important than the transits of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

A couple of weeks from now I will have moved on from this little quandary on what topic to write about, which is in keeping with Mercury’s fast orbital clip of just one year to go around the Sun. Even if you only consider the Ptolemaic aspects of the transiting Mercury, between a pair of conjunctions to the Sun one year apart, there will be a sextile (60 degrees aspect) in 2 months, a square (90 degrees aspect) in 3 months, a trine (120 degree aspect) in 4 months, and an opposition in 6 months.

Then the cycle repeats in the other half as Mercury begins to close in on the Sun. First, another trine when Mercury is 120 degrees away from returning to a conjunction with the Sun, when it has wound its way through 240 degrees from the previous conjunction, equal to 8 months of time. (Another way to see this is 60 degrees past the opposition, so add 2 months to the time of the opposition). This is followed one month later by a square, then another month afterward by a sextile, then back to the conjunction. If you add the quincunx (and its counterpart, which is the 30-degree aspect called semi-sextile), you have a transit of Mercury to the Sun every month.

This is not to say the transit of Mercury is not important, but its impact is either ephemeral, or supports a much larger agenda, such as signing a contract for the purchase of the house. The decision to buy a house, and the impact of the move, will be shown by the transit of one of the slower planets.

Transits of Saturn and Jupiter

Conjunctions are the most powerful of the transiting aspects, so if you are looking for times in your life when you are called on to pay fullest attention to where you are headed, look at the conjunctions of the transiting planets to the Sun. Plus you want to start with Saturn and Jupiter because their transiting conjunctions to the Sun are a lot less frequent than those of the Moon through Mars, but no so rare that you may never experience one. Jupiter’s conjunction will happen every 12 years, and Saturn’s will happen every 29 years.

When transiting Saturn conjuncts the Sun, you will be asked to take full ownership of your life direction. You will question how your life has been lived thus far, and how you plan to live it going forward. You will question your life purpose. You will take account of how you have fulfilled your responsibilities, how you have performed duties big and small that were given to you or that you took on. You will question if you are on the right track.

The transiting Saturn is active for about a one year window around the exact conjunction. This self-questioning start at the leading edge of this period, around 6 months before the conjunction. The transit compels you to answer these questions truthfully. Saturn demands honesty with the self, and a full acceptance of reality. Within this one year window of reality check, you are given a chance to tune your life compass. Either reaffirm your life direction and dedicate yourself to it with greater commitment and a truer sense of purpose, or change the direction and take up a fresh new path where you live a more authentic life.

Jupiter’s conjunction to the Sun happens every 12 years. At every conjunction, you are given a big infusion of faith and optimism, and a sense of bounty. This is the time when you are most likely to find new opportunities and new directions in your search for fulfillment. The first couple of transiting conjunctions will happen in the early years when you are not an adult with complete autonomy, so while you may get the feeling that life is good (which is good!), you are not asked to consciously choose.

The Jupiter conjunctions that matter the most are the ones that happen after the first Saturn return when transiting Saturn returns to its natal place, which happens around the age of 29. This is when you really begin to carve out your own life as an autonomous being. The Jupiter transit’s window of opportunity doesn’t last too long (a few weeks, really), so you want to be quick to act on the openings that come your way. Jupiter is bountiful, but its real benefit is only felt if you have been true to Saturn’s demand for authenticity. As the saying goes, Jupiter proposes but Saturn disposes. Jupiter opens the door, but only Saturn can deliver the results.

Transits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto

Transiting Saturn and Jupiter conjunctions to the Sun are the primary aspects to consider when determining or correcting the life direction. The outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are a different matter altogether. Aside from the fact that not everyone will experience a transiting conjunction to the natal Sun in their lifetime, because these planets generally act outside the boundaries of full conscious awareness, their effects are not easily contained.

With Saturn and Jupiter we know what’s coming so we can prepare ahead of time. When a hurricane is imminent, you can evacuate. But with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, even though you know a transit is approaching, there’s not much you can do beforehand except be ready with full awareness so at least you’re not totally surprised. Battening down the hatches and waiting for the storm to pass is not an option either. You will need to face up to the full effects of the transit.

Uranus takes 84 years for one full revolution around the Sun, so the time between a pair of conjunctions to the natal Sun is 84 years. So if you live to be more than 84, you will experience this transit. However, if the transit happens before you are an autonomous adult, it generally will be seen through some effect on a family member, likely the father. This will, of course, have a ripple effect on the family as a whole, including yourself. There may a change in family circumstance, which you will experience as a big change in life direction, but you may have little control over it. And once the transiting conjunction comes and goes, it is gone forever, and you will never experience it again.

On the other hand, if you experience the transiting conjunction to the Sun in the prime of adulthood (say between the ages of 30 and 60), you can—at least on hindsight—make something of it. The nature of Uranus is independence through disruption. As an outer planet, Uranus’s task is to loosen any connection to social mores and protocols, as well as pressure from peers, parents and authority figures to be and behave a certain way, in order that you can truly be yourself. The more you have hidden or suppressed your real self, the greater the disruption that will be caused by the transit. Whatever the actual material circumstance of the transit, know that it is arising out of your reluctance to be true to yourself. You will need to figure out real quick what parts of you need to come out so you can be your own person, and start living them.  

What happens if you don’t get a transiting conjunction of Uranus to the natal Sun in these prime years? In that case, look for the transiting opposition. So, for instance, suppose Uranus is 30 degrees behind the Sun in your natal horoscope. Then the transiting conjunction would have happened when you were 7 years of age. Too early, not likely to register as anything to do with you specifically. Then, 42 years later, transiting Uranus will be opposite your natal Sun. Aha. The effects will be similar to that of the conjunction, perhaps a little weaker, and likely experienced via another person who acts as the agent of disruption and awakening. It seems like it’s not your problem, but it is very much your problem because that other person’s role is simply to get you to alter your behavior and become more independent and true to yourself.

Neptune is even slower than Uranus, taking all of 165 years to complete one full revolution around the Sun. If Neptune were to have been placed right on the Sun natally, it would arrive at an opposition after roughly 82 years. Most likely too late to notice, because whatever the effect of the transit may be it probably gets muddled up with general old age concerns. Now imagine that Neptune is 10 degrees past the Sun in your natal horoscope (equal to around 5 years of Neptune time, since 10 degrees is a third of 30 degrees which is 14 years of Neptune time), in which case the opposition transit would happen when you are 77 years old. Hmm, perhaps this is when you find yourself turning to mysticism and the spiritual life?

On the other hand, if Neptune were 10 degrees behind the Sun natally, then the transiting conjunction would have happened when you were 5 years old. Again, perhaps there was some kind of strange circumstance in the family, such as a parent walking out on the family for good. But you couldn’t process it in any meaningful way at that age, although years later on hindsight you might be able to relate the way you have directed your life to that particular happenstance in childhood. The transiting Neptune-natal Sun opposition in this configuration wouldn’t happen until you are 87. Too late.

So if you happen to get a conjunction of transiting Neptune to natal Sun in the core years of say 30 through 60, what can you expect? The primary push is to loosen your bonds to reality as we know it and make you realize that there is a whole other world out there that is not party to material laws or scientific reasoning. This is the world of the mystic and the spiritualist. Things may happen in your life that is inexplicable, that defies rational thought. If you aren’t already given leaning to the mystical because of a natal Neptune-Sun or Neptune-Moon aspect, a Neptune transit may be utterly confounding and deeply disturbing. You are called upon to accept a world that is the polar opposite of what you think of it as.

If your life compass has been pointing due north because that is the direction of the 100% scientific and material world with logical cause and effect, and along comes this Neptune transit, you will be forced to move the needle of the compass by a good 90 degrees, if not a full 180. You will need to allow for the mystical to seep into your life so you can experience this other world. It may not make a whole lot of sense at the outset, but given time, you will begin to experience this other world as a place of refuge and sustenance when things are not going so in the “real” world.

If neither the conjunction nor the opposition of transiting Neptune to the natal Sun happens in the core years, and you are craving a peek into the non-material world, then get ready for the square aspect. For instance, if natal Neptune is natally conjunct the Sun, the transiting square aspect would happen at around 42 years of age.  The effect will probably not be too much of a surprise because the natal Neptune-Sun conjunction makes you a Neptunian person from the get go. You are tuned to its other-wordly vibrations, and are receptive to its influence.

Or, if Neptune is 10 degrees ahead of the Sun natally, the square aspect would pay a visit at around 37 years of age. Here Neptune is not that closely conjunct the Sun natally, so while the effect may not come as a complete crumbling of the ego, it might shift your worldview a little more toward the mystical and spiritual. On the other hand, because you are still fairly young and have a long road to build your life, such an influence may create disturbing fissures in your sense of reality, and might lead to challenging circumstances as you get tossed between the material and the spiritual.

And finally, Pluto. The slowest moving of all the planets, it takes a long 248 years to complete one full revolution around the Sun. (Notwithstanding the demotion of Pluto to an asteroid, astrologers still consider Pluto to be a planet in that its meaning and power has not changed.) How many aspects of transiting Pluto to the Sun will you experience during your lifetime?

If you do experience a conjunction of transiting Pluto to your Sun, you certainly won’t be around to experience the opposition. The square aspect will happen roughly 62 years after the conjunction, which is the length of time it would take for Pluto to advance a quarter of the way around the zodiac. The sextile would happen a third before that, so at around 40-41. That is well and good, but when it comes to felt impact, astrologers use a half of the square, called semi-square, which is the 45-degree aspect. This aspect would occur about 30 years after the conjunction. So when looking at the transits of Pluto to my natal Sun, I would first look for a conjunction. If that doesn’t happen in my lifetime, or it happens too early (before the age of 20, say), or too late (after the age of around 75), I would then look for the opposition aspect. And if that suffers the same fate as the conjunction (doesn’t happen at all, or happens too early or too late in life), then I would look at the square, and then at the semi-square as well.

What does Pluto bring to the Sun by transit? It is a deep transformation of the sense of self through a powerful and intense experience. Whatever the circumstance, it will force you to see yourself in a very different light. Often the circumstance leads to a change in your sense of power and influence. If you weren’t in touch with your capacity to exert power and influence on the world, this transit might unearth that capacity and open up a whole new world where you feel strong and empowered.

If you are already given to holding and wielding a great deal of power, the transit might tear down your worldly potency so you are forced to dig deep and examine how much power you have over your own thoughts and feelings, and whether you can still feel like you are master of your destiny even though you have been stripped of all external trappings of power. Pluto is about self-mastery, and when transiting Pluto bears down on the Sun, you come face to face with all aspects of power, within yourself and that which is imposed on you from without.

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